The days of blind, unconditional love between businesses and social media are over. The same marketers who yesterday were so optimistic about the reach offered by social media are all too often frustrated today by the lack of obvious ROI and customer acquisition.
Bloggers, pundits, and analysts in the social media space all have opinions about where the industry has gone wrong, where it is heading, and what marketers can do to connect the dots between their social media strategies and quantifiable results.
This is something Rita McGrath has described as the debate about “whether user behavior will eventually become buyer behavior,” and she’s on to something. Social media is not at a loss for users. It’s buyers who have failed to make a significant appearance on the social scene.
While we agree that social media has not delivered on the sacred promise marketers once saw in it, we have a feeling that the problem has to do with how companies are using social media as one-way digital megaphone, as opposed to a place to truly engage and learn from customers.
Bruce Cleveland partner at InterWest Partners and former CMO of Siebel makes a similar point in his blog, Rolling Thunder. “The underlying problem, in my opinion, which has recently been corroborated by research, is that your social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement and not be viewed and used as yet another one-way digital advertising channel.”
Bruce’s point is loud and clear. Unless businesses can figure out how to engage users by providing them with transparent information, conversation, and support, to convert them from users into buyers, the promise of social media marketing will have been missed.
Here at Get Satisfaction, we commissioned a market research to ensure the products we are building meet the market requirements. We hired the Incyte Group to conduct the market research and when we saw the results we were surprise enough that we felt we should share this with all marketing executives. So on Thursday July 26th, we will unveil the results of a comprehensive consumer study that draws back the curtain on why companies’ social strategies simply aren’t working. The study, surveyed thousands of U.S. consumers to understand their preferences when researching a brand’s products and services on the Internet.
We envision a world where similar to the vision articulated by Doc Searls, one of a customer centered online experience, as opposed to a vendor-centric one, and we’re working to create it one community at a time.
“Progress in empowering customers won’t be smooth or even, but it will happen,” Doc assures us. “Today, the supply side still reigns, but by the time of that dinner party in 2022, everyone will understand that free customers are more valuable than captive ones.”
At Get Satisfaction we believe in true, authentic customer engagement, and the fact that your social media strategy needs to include a branded customer community to deliver the monetization from social. So if you’re a marketing executive and want to better monetize your social strategy, join us on July 26th at 4:00 pm at Sofitel in Redwood Shores and find out how!